I stayed away from the whole…you know…when it happened several years ago for a multitude of reasons. One being that it was college ball, and college ball isn’t something I do very often because I don’t really follow it. Also, that was just a toxic mess and most people seemed to be saying what I felt already. I would have been happy to leave Penn State alone but THERE IS NO GODDAMN NEWS NOW and this was kind of a big thing last week, so fuck it, lets talk Penn State.

Some evidence came out that shows that Paterno and friends may have been aware of Sandusky’s actions well before the incidents that eventually caused the whole mess, which shines Joe Pa in an even more damning light as an abuse enabler. This story is such a damn mess. It’s so weird. I personally wish Penn State had gotten the death penalty. I didn’t care about the wins being vacated, Paterno could keep those. Penn State won those games, NCAA recognized or not those games were won by Penn State and everyone knows that. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always seen “removing awards” as kind of a stupid punishment. So Reggie Bush had his Heisman taken away. We all know he still won it. Joe Pa can keep his wins, because the wins don’t actually matter (and anyone who thinks they do needs to look at themselves and wonder if that is the same mentality that led to covering up a problem in the first place). But the culture around the school needed a severe kick in the ass and the death penalty for a year or two would have done a better job of that because it punishes the entire program and hurts the school for allowing such a monster to exist. SMU got the death penalty because of recruitment violations, why can’t PS get it for a toxic child rapist enabling culture among the athletic program? I know which one I find personally more repellent.

A lot of people wanted to see Joe Pa burn mostly because he enabled Sandusky by doing so little but I think also in part by the multitude of people from Penn State who see Joe Pa as some sort of saint. The truth will always be in the middle. Joe Pa did a lot of good for that school. He made a lot of positive changes in a lot of people’s lives. I’m not talking about winning football games, I’m talking about as a person to his players and to his community. The fact that so many people are willing to throw themselves in front of the train for a child abuse enabler shows something about the man, cult of personality or not. I bet a lot of players considered Joe Pa a meaningful person in their lives. Joe Pa wasn’t a black and white piece of evil, he was complicated. He was human, and humans can be seriously terrible sometimes, and gracious at other times.

I think the biggest issue is that we’ll never know for sure just how much he knew. The grim reaper took him out before we really had a chance to investigate, and turned him into a martyr for some. We’ll never know if he explicitly knew Sandusky was raping children or if he simply suspected his friend was weird and decided to not follow up on it. We’ll never know how much he buried for his own sake, or because someone told him to, or what. All that we have is the fact that he did the bare minimum to stop this horrible thing from taking place and no matter what the defenders say, he didn’t do enough. He morally failed. He REALLY failed if he really did know this much back in the 70’s. I don’t think it should completely define his legacy, but it has to be noted and it has to be a major part of his story.

I can’t wait to see what kind of response I get for this one. There are no weak opinions on this story.